This work examines a centuries-long intellectual tradition in the early Latin church linking the imaginary associated with the opening of the Seven Seals of the Apocalypse with programs of ecclesiastical expansion and ascetic reform. The author proposes that early Latin Christian commentators of the Apocalypse of John regarded the expansion of the church and its separation of its members from undesirable bonds to the physical world as necessary conditions of the victory of the elect at the end of time. The encouragement of expansion and reform, therefore, assumed apocalyptic implications, as it seemed that these activities could hasten the eschatological hopes of the Christian community. Although the commentators in this study contributed to a consistent interpretation of the Apocalypse, elements of this tradition changed subtly over time. The author of the Apocalypse identified pagan Rome as the enemy of Christianity. As Christianity secured its foothold in the Latin world, however, interpreters of the Apocalypse expressed more alarm at the internal corruption of the Christian community that in external threats from the pagan world.
As a result, comprehensive exegeses of John's Apocalypse became less literal and more metaphorical with the passage of time. In offering the first full-length study of the surprisingly sophisticated apocalyptic thought that characterised the formative years of the Latin Christian church, this book provides valuable insight into the intellectual climate that produced the great ecclesiastical reform movements of the early middles ages.
Series: Studies in Medieval Culture
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 126
Published: 5th September 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.67 x 15.85
Weight (kg): 0.3
Edition Number: 1